The Time of Their Lives is Roger Goldby’s film about life as a senior citizen – an insight into the regression of the baby boomer generation and their attempts to find second chances as they edge closer to senility. Pauline Collins plays a vulnerable, unhappy grandmother, Priscilla, who is easily persuaded to accompany Helen (Joan Collins) – a forgotten actress assigned to a washed up retiring home – to France, where she intends to intrude on her ex-lover’s funeral. The outlandish duo embark on their adventures and encounter Italian artist Alberto (Franc Nero) who indulges their somewhat tedious attempts at ‘feeling like little girls again’. While neither Helen nor Priscilla succeed in rebuilding their lives, the film manages to conclude itself with a rather clichéd cementing of friendships. It is a disappointing, but somewhat predicted, end to a two-dimensional film.
Comments such as: “It’s important to keep carrying on, isn’t it” force us to acknowledge the bleak and depressing world which, more often than not, presents itself to those beyond a certain age.
It is a world which is projected onto the older generations by the young, who are unable to tolerate those who cannot comprehend or adapt to modern trends.
Priscilla’s unhappiness has its foundations in marriage and thus the film also acts as a chilling reminder that we share a society with generations who still abuse and oppress women. Therefore, while the film is overwhelmingly flawed, it deserves credit for the subject it attempts to handle. The delicate subject matter of the film is suffocated by the unwelcome acting of both the Collinses, which is difficult to stomach after the first few minutes. And while there are attempts to build some level of poignancy, this is immediately thwarted by the childish tone the film seems to go for. Indeed, this immaturity materialises in the childish humour used throughout, which seems unsuitable for the audience at which the film was aimed: those beyond the age of 50.
Ultimately, The Time of Their Lives is a film which struggles to break beyond average and which will most certainly prevent any audience from having the time of their lives.
Image: The Heart Truth